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Overnight Summer Camp Packing List for Kids

Overnight Summer Camp Packing List for Kids

Is your child headed to camp this summer? Here’s a handy guide to make sure you have everything you need for an awesome adventure! My oldest son just went off to camp, and I wanted to share some recommendations and tips we received that made his experience even better.

Clothing and Footwear:

  • Shoes: Pack three pairs – sturdy closed-toe shoes or sandals for everyday camp activities, hiking boots, and rain boots or old gym shoes for wet and muddy conditions.
  • Clothes: Bring at least 2 pairs of long pants, 4-5 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, a sweater or sweatshirt, a swimsuit, pajamas, and plenty of socks and underwear.

Weather Gear:

  • Rain Protection: A raincoat or poncho is essential.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget a hat with a sun visor and sunglasses.

Camp Essentials:

  • Backpack: A sturdy backpack for hiking (no drawstring bags).
  • Water Bottles: 3 reusable water bottles to stay hydrated.
  • Toiletries: Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, hair care, and bug spray.
  • Sun and Lip Protection: Sunscreen and lip protectant like ChapStick or Blistex.
  • Towels and Bedding: Bring two drying towels (one for bathing, one for the beach), 2 washcloths, and bedding (pillow, sleeping bag, or sheets and blanket).
  • Plastic Bags: 3 plastic bags for wet shoes and dirty clothes.

Optional Fun Extras:

  • Books, a journal, a rugged or disposable camera, binoculars, and pre-posted envelopes for letters home.


  • Original Containers: Ensure all medications are in their original containers with clear labels.
  • Ziploc Bag: Place the medications in a Ziploc bag to hand over to the camp nurse at check-in. This helps maintain organization and ensures the nurse has all necessary information.

Helpful Tips:

  • Label Everything: Make sure all your belongings have your name on them to avoid mix-ups.
  • Pack Light: Only bring what you need to avoid overpacking.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Try packing your bag a few times before camp to make sure everything fits and is easy to carry.
  • Comfort First: Choose comfortable and broken-in shoes to prevent blisters during activities.
  • Stay Organized: Use packing cubes or separate bags for different types of items to keep your suitcase tidy.
  • Hydrate: Keep a water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated, especially during outdoor activities.
  • Be Weather-Ready: Check the weather forecast before you pack to ensure you have appropriate clothing for any conditions.
  • Buddy System: Pack a small flashlight and make sure you know how to use it for nighttime trips to the bathroom or late-night cabin chats.
Photo by Belle Co

As you prepare your child for overnight camp, remember that the goal is for them to have fun, make memories, and gain some independence. Ensure they have all the essentials, but also encourage them to be responsible for their belongings. This experience can be a wonderful opportunity for them to learn and grow, so pack wisely, provide them with some helpful tips, and send them off ready for adventure!

Summer Camp Finds

These are some items I've packed my kid for camp. I've included alternate links where applicable. Special thanks to Envio and Supermouth for gifting us with product!

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